BOAT International’s 2019 Ocean Talks in London

Studio Startup Manager, Naomi Rossdeutscher, was sponsored by Atomic Sky to attend BOAT International’s 2019 OCEAN TALKS in London, at the prestigious Royal Geographical Society.

“Something I heard frequently throughout the day was, The Oceans are vast and still quite unknown.” Naomi said.

Supported by the Ocean Family Foundation and held in partnership with Nekton, North Sails and Cookson Adventures, the event targeting connection, innovation and conservation with talks by some of the world’s leading marine experts, conservationists and scientists.


First up was a conservative update on the state of the world’s oceans by Dr Mark Spalding, senior marine scientist for The Nature Conservancy, talking about RESISTING THE APOCALYPSE.


“The Great Barrier Reef is in a frightening place, but not dead.” he said.

He went on to talk about pollution;

  • SUPER TOXINS, that don’t break down.

  • Toxins - from plastics that leak, affecting human sperm counts.

  • Pollutants draining from agriculture causing dead zones.

  • The sub-cast of pollution - plastic found in our water, remote islands and the bottom of the ocean.

Over fishing;

  • One third of fish stocks being overfished.

  • In the year 2024 we won’t be catching as much, not because we aren’t good at it, but because the fish won’t be there.

Climate change

  • Sea ice melts - algae, rising water levels, storm patterns, drowning Pola Bears.

Solutions aren’t easy - “Sometimes the solution to one problem spirals into causing other problems.”

“When we throw something away, we are just putting it somewhere else. The 450 year bottle exists.”

We need to think internationally. “We have an armoury of solutions and underpinning the solutions is science.”


Yacht designer Steve Gresham and Alexander Flemming, from the ALUCIA 2 Project, explain how the world’s fleet of super-yacht philanthropic billionaires are helping to break boundaries in science and oceanography.

They discussed;

  • Exciting ideas about new tech, ‘facial recognition’ for fish - recognising types of fish and even if a fish is pregnant, to determine what fish should be thrown back and then given as open source tech.

  • Super-yachts can aid in getting access that allows science to explore the world and to capture information and then giving it freely.

  • The yachting community can reach hard to access areas and can look and explore fish, plankton, the sea-bed.

  • The bigger yacht’s can have labs and AUV’s (autonomous vehicles) onboard, diving ops and decompression chambers, submersibles and helicopter operations.

  • With all those exciting tools the super-yacht industry can be philanthropic and help the scientific community to get out there.


Matthieu Rytz, documentary filmmaker introduced his film, ANOTES ARK

Anotes Ark discusses human migration because of climate change, focusing on the KIRIBATI (pronounced “Kiribas”) losing their homeland and culture to climate change and having to relocate. KIRIBATI is an isolated Pacific nation situated between Hawaii and Fiji. Watch the Trailer & Read More.

Rytz is now in production on his next documentary, Deep Rising, exploring the fate of the deep ocean, being at stake, as a secretive international organization moves to allow corporations to strip mine the seabed for metals crucial to a carbon-free future.


NEKTON working to connect scientists to yachts, collaborating with Oxford University, a fabulous idea where selected scientists, directors, ecologist, lecturers and professors explained their research and detailed what they required from a Yacht owner to aid them


We know very little about the ocean.

The individual panel members detailed the areas they are working. They are seeking yachts to aid them in gathering collective data around the world in the study of;

  • Black coral reefs.

  • DSL’s (deep scattering layer - millions of marine organisms, most particularly small mesopelagic fish, with swimbladders that reflect sonar.)

  • Subsurface ocean waves and internal tides.

  • Ocean Mantas and Reef Mantas which are fished for their gillplates, for medicine and are a tourist attraction plus the effects of having the largest population of ocean Mantas in the Maldives, right next to large fisheries.

CITIZEN SCIENCE - What can you do today

Brandon Harvey - The Polar Citizen Science Collective and EYOS Expeditions.

Brandon Harvey introduced us to HAPPYWHALE, one of The Polar Citizen Science Collective’s projects.

HAPPYWHALE tracks individual whales throughout our oceans, aided by millions of whale watching enthusiasts to expand scientific knowledge of their behavior and share it.

You just set your cameras to local time, capture photos of whale sightings and upload to

Using the photos submitted by citizens, whales are being identified by their unique markings and using advanced image processing algorithms the photos are matched with scientific collections, making global whale tracking easier than ever before, plus citizens scientists can have fun learning about their whale.

Coming soon, is a new project, POLARTAG, where you will be able to upload photos of tagged animals you see, which goes directly to the researchers and you can even receive feedback.

And then we had a look at some incredible trips you could go on with EYOS Expeditions.


Dr Mark Spalding talks to;

turtle coral.jpg.jpg

The oceans are getting warmer, leading to coral bleaching - where coral is starving because the algae has died.

We have lost 50% of corals in the Great Barrier Reef, where you can smell the reefs rotting and dying.

When the reef dies, then the ecosystem that needs the reef also dies.


  • 220 million people rely on reefs for food (there is a cocktail of threats to food security)

  • Reefs provide a barrier to weather.

  • Reefs are a huge draw in tourism, although an unregulated industry is also a threat.

There is hope if we act quickly, but restoration is hard.

Ecosystems, as species evolution, can help rescue reefs from climate change. We need to reduce local stresses and chose what to protect, target diverse areas, work with the CORAL REEF ALLIANCE to create a blueprint on how to unite communities to save coral reefs.


Cookson Adventures’ Tom Hutton discussed how the travel specialist helped a client fund crucial killer whale research.

“We came across this client who wanted to visit the Antarctic and one of the things that came out of our conversations was his real passion for whales," Hutton said.

Cookson helped pair the client with leading killer whale expert Dr Bob Pitman and the 22-metre expedition yacht Australis, where Dr Pitman’s team did conducted ground-breaking research in Antarctica which led to a rare species of killer whale being documented for the first time, leading to the collection of crucial samples from the “Type D” orca, which will now help scientists understand the fascinating sub-species.

“The high net worth individual wants to be able to get involved, to touch and feel things and have that proper experience that they can take away,” Hutton said. “It’s about making the trip part of a conservation experience.”

Another Cookson client is creating a three-month travel programe to enable him to identify major global issues and dedicate funding research for the next 12 months.

Expedition leader Rob McCallum and scientist Dr Alan Jamieson shared stories of the ground-breaking Five Deeps expedition.

Explorer Victor Vescovo funded the record-breaking attempt to dive to the deepest points of each of the world’s five oceans, launched by charter specialist EYOS Expeditions following three years of preparation and research and has already made great achievements, such as setting a new deep diving record for the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean, diving to the deepest points of the Atlantic and Southern Oceans, plus Vescovo is the first human to dive to the Java Trench, the deepest point of the Indian Ocean.

During the Java Trench expedition, the Triton-built submersible Limiting Factor, recorded the discovery of a new species.

Rob McCullum said the high point of the expedition was the success of the Triton submersible, which means humanity now “has a tool that can take us to any depth at any time” and his low point was the realisation that micro-plastics are “everywhere”.


Frederikke Magnussen of A Plastic Planet was joined by a panel of experts to discuss what’s next in the battle against plastics.

There is more than five times the amount of plastic in our oceans than we thought we put in. We are concerned. The outcry is here.

Fishing nets, helium balloons, plastic bags, plastic particles in our food and drinks - the panel discussed the problem being in the making of plastic, waste management, the supply chains not being transparent. It’s a global challenge.

Why is the UK sending it’s plastic to Malaysia and previously China?

We need to turn off that plastic tap!

First we had microplastics and now we are hearing about nanoplastics, (particles unintentionally produced from degradation and manufacturing of plastic objects which behave in a colloidal manor and fall within the range of 1 to 1000 nm.)

Through eating, packaging leaching and micro-plastic getting to us when showering, humans are consuming the equivalent of a credit card of plastic each week.

Plastic micro-stuff - feed stocks creating plastic, add dangers to health, and among them, the release of toxic substances into the air and water.

Audience question “What we can do to help in relation plastic and fashion?” Answer “Wear natural fibres, buy second hand, buy less, use washing machines that filter the microfibres (and the first two washes are the worst)”

To learn more about the Ocean Talks or listen to the podcasts, go to Boat International here